Bloom Where You Are Planted
Summer—the time of year for flowers! Everyday I linger among my peonies, marigolds, and geraniums, thanking God for their beauty. We often send flowers to people we love to show our affection or to brighten their day. In the Victorian age, flowers became the primary way people shared their feelings. Proclaiming affection in those days was socially taboo so flowers became the mouthpiece of emotions. This covert way of communicating was the reason flower markets were prominent in the 1800s. (Remember the song, “Who Will Buy” from the musical Oliver?)
The following are some of the coded meanings of flowers according to an 1877 publication titled, Floral Poetry and the Language of Flowers.
- A deep red rose symbolized the potency of romantic love, pink roses were less intense love than red, white suggested virtue, and yellow meant friendship.
- A white violet meant innocence while a purple violet said that the giver’s thoughts were occupied with love for the recipient.
- Bluebells communicated kindness, peonies meant bashfulness, rosemary was for remembrance, tulips represented passion, and wallflowers stood for faithfulness in adversity.
- To express adoration, a suitor would send dwarf sunflowers.
- Myrtle symbolized good luck and love in a marriage which began the tradition of including myrtle in the bridal bouquet.
- Some plants were used to send negative messages. Aloe meant bitterness, pomegranate, conceit, and rhododendrons meant danger.
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus points to the magnificence of flowers: “Not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” He explains how God shows care for a flower, therefore how much more does our God care for us, the crown of his creation? As we might delight in the beauty and intricacies of a flower, we can know God delights in us in the same way. We are all precious in his sight, beautifully and wonderfully made.
Being Human connection: God provides beautifully for us all, therefore we can bloom where we are planted. Some flowers last just a short time; others bloom all summer long. God has created each of us as unique individuals. Some of us may have a short time, and others may have a longer time to bloom, but we all can display the beauty of God’s love and care because God himself sustains us and he has claimed us as his own. And that is the ultimate language of love.
Featured art: Victor Gabriel Gilbert, “The Flower Market,” 1847-1933; George Dunlop Leslie, “Sun and Moon Flowers,” 1889.